Colorado Leads the Nation in Establishing Public Lands Day

Colorado Leads the Nation in Establishing Public Lands Day

 John Rader

AAC Conservation and Advocacy Team

Today, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper made history by signing a bill that establishes a new state holiday to commemorate Colorado’s public lands. This bill is the first of its kind in the country and is great news for climbers, since more than 70 percent of rock climbing in the West occurs on public land. As American Alpine Club CEO Phil Powers says, “the vertical playgrounds on our public lands offer the kind of unexplored terrain that challenges us to dig deep for our best selves. Our pristine and inspiring landscapes bring out our best and rank Colorado one of the most desirable places to live today.”

Colorado’s access to the outdoors is a huge magnet for people and businesses. The state’s outdoor recreation economy alone generates $13.2 billion annually and directly supports 125,000 jobs in Colorado. In fact, as Governor Hickenlooper mentioned during the signing, 95 percent of Coloradans have recreated on public lands in the last year. That’s why the majority of Colorado voters oppose state attempts to seize public lands and turn them over to extractive industry.

Today’s signing is an awesome validation that Coloradans want to celebrate our public spaces instead of selling them off. It represents our desire to protect the areas where we hike, climb, bike, and boat. From arid deserts to soaring mountains, public lands are where we commune with nature, push our personal boundaries, and find solace in wild places. All Coloradans can take pride that their state is a leader in the West in acknowledging the value of public lands.

Three cheers to our partners at Conservation Colorado and Outdoor Alliance Colorado for all their hard work in helping get this important bill passed.

 

For more information on how to get involved in protecting public lands through our partners in the Outdoor Alliance, check out this link: http://www.outdooralliance.org/get-local/ 

Media Coverage on the Bill Signing:

  • Colorado Public Radio Story: http://www.cpr.org/news/story/hickenlooper-signs-long-delayed-public-lands-day-bill-why-was-it-so-controversial
  • Fox News: http://www.westernslopenow.com/news/local-news/governor-hickenlooper-signs-public-lands-day-into-law
  • ABC News: http://www.kjct8.com/content/news/Colorado-first-state-to-celebrate-public-lands-Fruita-joins-in-on-the-fun-379936371.html